Our Rebellious Hearts"What the soul knows is often  unknown to the man who has a soul. We are infinitely more than we think." Kahlil Gibran

"I realized that all the trouble I ever had about you came from some smallness or fear in myself."    Mary Haskell

"All cruelty springs from weakness.”    Seneca

"We are expression of earth, and of life - not separate individuals only. We cannot get enough away from the earth to see the earth and ourselves as separates. We move with its great movements and our growth is part of its great growth."    Kahlil Gibran

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”    Seneca

There has been a tremendous amount of talk about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. The fascinating part is that nothing ever changes. I wrote a book on the mother-in-law daughter-in-law dilemma which took  over fifteen years of research. I interviewed people at the beginning of those years and at the end and I got the same results. To be honest, I was shocked.

Today's young people appear to be more computer literate, independent and outspoken. Yet when you mention a mother-in-law, their complaints and issues sound  the same throughout the ages. They are no less confident around their mothers-in-law than any other generation. Perhaps they are even less secure, given the confusion regarding one insignificant person, who appears to make them nervous. The mystery is they can't figure out why. ...continue reading "Rebellious Mothers-in-Law"

The  typical answers, which have some truth in them, are jealousy, fear, and their own insecurity towards their relationship with their husbands. Their possessive feelings towards their husbands, causes a resistance in them to accept their mother-in-law. Regardless of how any of us feel, mothers are mothers and they will likely always hold a connected bond with their daughters as well as their sons. Most women like to believe that only daughters stay close to their mothers. I call this surface bonds.

Mothers keep their bonds of affection for all of their kids, and young or old the love does not diminish.  The belief is that women stay bonded  to mom, but men somehow evolve into a new creature that stops caring about his beginnings. Many men likely under duress, leave a lot of space between themselves and their mothers, so as to alleviate any trouble with their wives.

Of course it is silly because if we looked into the future, or at life itself, we would realize that we will perhaps one day be at the other end of the stick. None of us think of that. We  assume we will  have our tiny babies, toddlers and young children under our spell forever. As older women will attest, time passes quietly but swiftly and things turn around. I have heard the same  rhetoric of  "how much better I would do things than my mother-n-law did." Probably you won't make the same mistakes, but you will forge ahead with your own errors, unwittingly unaware that you have done anything wrong.

Nobody plans on making problems for anyone least of all your son or daughter-in-law. The trouble is, if one has made trouble already, forgiveness is the only route that allows them on the track again. Of course we can skip the forgiveness, and rattle onward with confusion, distrust, uneasiness, fights, horrible interactions, and free time spent on rehashing everything that was said and done. Humans are great at overlooking their own transgressions. We give ourselves plenty of slack in reference to pain and blame. In the end we all are delivered fair amounts of stress, anxiety and worry.

Mothers-in-law need time to adjust. When a woman becomes a new mother, she frets and wants to be left alone so she can learn all the ways to take care of her baby. She doesn't want a lot of advice, at least not from the older generation. She gains her independence and eventually steers her own wheel. Likewise, a new mother-in-law must learn how to switch up  her own way of doing things. She no longer can interfere with her sons choices, nor stop by when she feels like it. Yes her son probably wouldn't care any more than her daughter-in-law worries if her own mother stops by. The trouble is the daughter-in-law wants her privacy, and deserves her privacy. Mothers-in-law need to respect the lines that are drawn.

This is easier said than done. If a mother has freely spoken to her child for over twenty years, it is difficult to expect her to suddenly learn how to keep her mouth quiet. Of course she needs to learn this, but give her some time and space to fall back, make mistakes and then learn to adjust. It is the changes and fear of the transformations that are likely taking place. The love is always solid but the alterations in the relationship are numerous. Changes require a lot of adjustments in action, words and emotional acceptance.

Calling men mommies boys, only makes the men put up a facade of separation from the mother. That in turn hurts the mother. We haven't changed the son's love for his mother. We have only caused him to hide his feeling and keep them undercover. That is silly as well as sad, when we don't place the same parameters on our own heartfelt associations. Just as we can't be forced to love someone, likewise we can't be forced to stop loving someone. The heart rebels.

How much time, effort, pain, fear and stress we needlessly place on our shoulders. There is room for one more person to love in this big world. We must have confidence in ourselves, trust in our own worth and not feel jealousy in the mother son relationship. Perhaps if we could get beyond  that, we would all learn to have serenity. Mothers-in-law are just as guilty of jealousy, as well as insecurity. But trusting they have a place in their son's heart, should give them peace.  Why do we want to spend our happy times, assessing what another says or does. In the end it is futile and pointless. The evaluation results always depend on the person doing the assessment more than what is the truth.

Mothers-in-law have a new playing field. They need to refrain from overstepping boundaries, respect rules that are set, even if they don't agree with them, or even if they think they are ridiculous. Respect and tolerance is key. Understanding how much your son loves this person is essential. They are his family now, and although you will always be a part  of his family, stepping back a bit and recognizing the importance of his union and the onward cycle of his life is crucial.

Most if not all mothers do not want to keep their sons locked away or stagnant. Allowing them to live the life they choose is not our decision to make, but it does necessitate that  we accept his decisions. Daughters-in-law who want peace, and honesty, must accept some of the fault in a failing relationship with their mothers-in-law. By understanding their role in the crises, they can alter their opinions, as well as stretch their thinking. By coming to realize that they can't just pretend their husband never had a mother, or that he can easily walk away from having her in his life, will afford a deeper revelation about life itself.

A daughter-in-law's fear and stress might be her own nervousness at taking the helm. Of course the daughter-in-law is up to it but she must have some faith in herself. None of us can control another, or not forever. If we wrap our treasure and hide it, how can we enjoy it ourselves. Bringing it into the light gives others the chance to experience some of the joy. By having our husband's interests in mind, we might offer a truce in any difficult situation.

Judging the mother-in-law too early in the game causes misconceptions. It would be like judging a child's temperament after the mother is leaving the child in your care. The screaming yelling and misbehaving child is under duress at the moment. It is not a good time to be judging him or her. I would suggest the mother-in-law may be at that same point in time, as the toddler.  She is under fire to accept so many changes that are definitely attuned with life and natural, but not easy. Perhaps a mothers slight temper tantrum is also quite natural. Give her time to adjust and make it as easy and as acceptable as possible because in the end she will come to understand, there are no other options.

Mothers-in-law should understand that their daughters-in-law are young, and have a lot to learn about the progression of life. Attempting to give them the fast pass doesn't work. They are vulnerable, are excited about their new beginning and want independence and freedom, to make their own choices. A mother-in-law has to allow her son and his wife to make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. Interfering is out of the question. Perhaps their ridiculous idea might pan out better than you thought.Everyone is breaking new ground. We all react poorly at moments. Acting like  children is probably very common in adults of all temperaments. Whether we behave aggressively,  or passive aggressively, everyone needs forgiveness and kindness at times.

We all want to be understood regarding our feelings, which are not easy to express. How many mothers-in-law want to believe they are expressing a temper tantrum, and showing signs of jealousy. How many daughters-in-law want to believe they are possessive and jealous of their mothers-in-law. Both parties will get over the newness of it all, and release their own fears in time. When that future time comes, it would be nice to still have a worthwhile relationship. Trust me, it is an awesome treasure to have and well worth waiting for, or working towards. Tolerance, forgiveness, understanding and love will open the chrysalis to a new adventure that all will love and enjoy, if we will simply have faith that it is possible.

A man can be free without being great, but no man can be great without being free."     Kahlil Gibran

"Imagination sees the complete reality, - it is where past, present and future meet... Imagination is limited neither to the reality which is apparent - nor to one place. It lives everywhere. It is at a center and feels the vibrations of all the circles within which east and west are virtually included. Imagination is the life of mental freedom. It realizes what everything is in its many aspects ... Imagination does not uplift: we don’t want to be uplifted, we want to be more completely aware."    Kahlil Gibran

"When the hand of Life is heavy and night song-less, it is the time for love and trust. And how light the hand life becomes and how song-ful the night, when one is loving and trusting all." Anonymous

“He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.”    Seneca

"Say NO to the demands of the world. Say YES to the longings of your own heart."   Jonathon Lockwood

"Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work...Sacredly, Secretly, and Silently...And those with 'eyes to see and ears to hear' will respond."    Unknown

Continually attempting to please others, is likely the most difficult job we all work at constantly. All our boasts about  not caring if someone likes it or not, are just nonsense. Deep down we want to make others happy. All of us work at making the grade, and becoming number one, in the eyes of another. What I have found is that it becomes impossible, to be the number one for any length of time. As hard as we work at it, eventually it wears us down, and I am not even sure others are totally aware of the game we are playing. They are too busy playing their version of it.

Most likely it begins at childhood, when we compete against our siblings for attention. Some of us find it easier to be people pleaders, but we all do it to some degree, even if we don't admit to it. If our parents like something special for dinner, then that is what we cook when they are coming over. We bask in our ability to please them, and we beam, when they compliment us. Of course we get a bit  rigid when we hear about their  pleasure at another siblings house. How petty of us we think, but the feelings creep in, or is it the threat of losing love.

Young kids depend on mom and dad, and so the ability to accept sibling rivals, is important. Maybe we never evolve out of that position. Instinctively we continue to strive to please.  This perhaps continues with our jobs and the boss. Technically the boss is also a provider for us, and important figure in our lives. Husbands and wives play another role, and without knowing it,  demand more of our attention.

We all like to satisfy, receive praise, and feel that we make a difference in the lives of others. I know it is probably impossible to be in first place, all the time. It is extremely difficult, to  maintain a level of denial, in order to cope with the pleasures of others. Simply stated, we can't be the perfect child forever. Finding our own lives is relevant. We can't be the need fulfilling spouse every second. Our own needs must be taken care of. We are never the perfect parent, sibling or friend. Those times when we fail, are the times we beat ourselves up, for not satisfying another.

Perhaps it is time to ask if it is so important to always gratify. Likely we have degrees of how much importance we place on this attitude. It is paramount to accept the fact, that we cannot always placate those we love. If we only see ourselves through the eyes of another, then we lose ourselves in their perception of us. How they view us is how we rate ourselves. Now we are under pressure to come through. It is far better to appreciate  who we are. Our version of self, is the most important measurement we can accept.

Most of us probably are not aware of the importance, another person places, on what we think about them. As much as we attempt to keep parents happy, our children are doing the same thing with us. Every time we produce a guilt ridden situation,  we have endorsed a "striving to please" job. It only leaves us distraught at our attempts to gratify. Perhaps parents are not placing such burdens on us. It may possibly be us, who desire to constantly gratify those we love.

I honestly believe that in the end, we are so beat down that we give up. This is sad, but sometimes a blessing. After coming to terms with the limits of our capacity, we begin to discover ourselves. We also realize that we start doing things for others out of love, real love, rather than to attain a false belief of love. Most likely parents are not forcing kids to please, and may not be aware of the power they hold over their children. Adult children might become aware, that their parents are also not theirs to control. Kids need to learn independence, and thankfulness for the favors parents bestow.

Once this is accomplished, we can live our lives in honesty, and in a more relaxed state. We stop striving to constantly delight, and begin paying more attention to needs and support. It perhaps also gives us time to aid others, outside our circle of family and friends. If we dwell constantly on what we must do for someone, in order to maintain a tenuous sense of position, it allots  little time, to helping another, out of charity.

I know there were many times in my life, that I did things out of duty. There was some love intertwined, but for the most part, it felt more like being compelled to do it. Maybe it was my own sense of duty, or maybe it was guilt put on my shoulders. Likely it was a bit of both. I guess it is a good thing when a person comes to the realization sooner, rather than later, because pressure is relieved and living begins.

We strive to be the perfect parents, or grandparents. Then we discover how effortlessly, another parent or  grandparent assists our child in a profound and important way. Accepting this is crucial, to our own peace of mind. We all want what is best for our kids and grandchildren. If we love them truly, then there is no problem in accepting and being grateful, for the support of others. Loving can mean allowing our most treasured gifts, the freedom to be liberated. Letting go is difficult, but upon release,  peace is acquired. We also might find the loved one returns often. There is a comforting revisit, due to the lessening of restrictions.

The more we hold on tightly to what we perceive as ours, the more they struggle for autonomy,  and to please us. We leave them in turmoil. The expectations others have for us, as well as the ones we place on others, can consume our lives. It is so strange to have the independence, and knowledge of the love of others, without strings attached. Love is so gentle, that it is without physical attributes, and thus can only be felt within the body and mind. It is impossible to enclose, or keep love confined to oneself. By allowing love the freedom to expand, it draws back to us and gives thanks.

Even at work, there can be many who deserve credit for their abilities. We are one of many on the job. In no way are we depleted by someone's fullness. Mothers and wives can love sons and husbands, without jealousy. Sisters-in-Law and brothers-in-law can love each other without competing. Siblings can understand that their parents love can be divided many times without any loss of love to them. Friends can accept the differences between each other, and the needs each individual fulfills. Grandparents can give unconditional love, without envy. I for one comprehend that letting go of demands, and competition, brings serenity. The empty space left from the lack of worry, is filled with more love. Serenity is far better than constant striving to please others. Life won't always make you happy, but living a meaningful life will bring you happiness.

Strive For Happiness"PEACE It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things, and still be calm in your heart." Unknown

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow  bring out the best in ourselves."    William Arthur Ward

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."     Cynthia Oziek

 

Holiday Thoughts"I don't need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled."    Anonymous

"The Holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings, and seek out ways to make life better for those around us."    Terri Marshal

The holidays are coming and you can already feel the anxiety. We all have it yet think we are the only ones sensing the stress. Some of us hide our fear better than others but without a doubt none of us like being criticized or gossipped about  when the occassion is over. In truth our reality differs from what another experiences. None of us comprehend the  total meaning  behind words actions or gifts  and we fret about our own situation unaware of the bombs we drop on others.

Attempt to experience a good time without negative thinking before it begins. Don't poison your holiday with negative expectations. Setting yourself up for a  lousy time will already define your experience. Remember that as much as you want a good time so does the rest of the family. Hurting your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law creates a disastrous happening for the son or husband. It takes only one person to make or break the happiness. It is your choice so choose wisely. It reflects on all of us. Every Holiday is different and can't really be repeated. Love can always be present and repeated time and again. Following are a few hints derived from  my books and my  thoughts on the subject and others feelings about it.

AFTER THE DIVORCE, DON’T THROW THE FAMILY OUT WITH THE EX-HUSBAND
1. Take control of the situation at the beginning. Trashing your MIL in front of the kids will fuel distrust in your kids. If you stopped loving dad and grandma you just might stop loving them one day.
2. When your marriage has ended, the kids are dislodged and dealing with many changes. The grandparent relationship becomes more significant to them, offering some stability.
3. Put aside fear, doubts, anger and especially revenge. It only leads to dumping more hurt upon yourself and your kids.
4. Talk to your MIL and explain to her how much your kids value her. Allow her to continue her relationship with them. In this way you avoid revenge which is a contagious disease that infects everyone
5. Your child’s happiness is more important than convincing your MIL she is wrong. There are no winners or losers in any confrontation. Kids suffer defeat every time a family member is absent from their lives.
6. Generating bonds of respect with your MIL will keep your ex-husband more involved with the kids. Bonds of love are always more difficult to break.
7. Your MIL loves her grandchildren and she will treat you with respect if it means her connection to her grandchildren will continue.
8. Be patient and give your MIL time to heal. Being non-judgmental allows you to heal and have some support from your MIL. The MIL, DIL relationship is like any other. It requires time and effort.
9. With tolerance and acceptance, the barriers both women have constructed will break down. We can’t fight with someone who is just not taking the bait and fighting back.
10. In the end it is wise to remember you, your ex-husband, MIL, and children are part of a large quilt which includes all of you. Your kids have roots that are tangled with each family member. Damaging any parts of their roots destroys pieces of their foundation. Keep kids healthy and strong in mind and body. Do what it takes and strive for peace.

Kids can be jealous of step kids and especially half siblings. Kids resent step parents disciplining them and one must question fairness when their own kids are involved. Kids exhibit more anger due to numerous stresses of mixed homes, many parents and disciplinarians and more kids to compete with. Be consistent, don't compare, attempt to be on the same page, and always give respect time and love. Don't fight in front of kids and never talk about the other parent or allow the step parent to do this as it will only hurt the child. Instill rules with meaningful consequences and provide choices. Willingly accept support from extended family members; You don't want to cut your kids roots and thus destroy the plant. Kids are sensing a loss of family otherwise.

Reflections for Mothers-in-Law
Remember your daughter-in-law has a family, too. She cherishes spending time with them holiday central, and be thankful to share it with people you love.

Your daughter-in-law may anticipate visiting her family on the holidays. She might be more anxious to see them if they live at a distance. Try to give of yourself. When all is said and done, we remember who did what for us quicker than who gave what to us. It is fun to visit with someone throughout the year. The holidays are only a short period of time. It is the people who make the holiday special.You cannot compete with your daughter-in-law‟s mother. You can become a significant ally to your daughter-in-law. Promote your own relationship of family love with her.

Each holiday is unique in itself. It is not possible or necessary to repeat a holiday experience. Embrace each holiday. They have their own distinct moments. Give unconditionally, and you will not be disappointed. Equating the gifts from your daughter-in-law or mother-in-law to the value she places on your worth is a mistake. Most of us choose a gift we would prefer for ourselves and one we can afford. Holiday traditions change, and are a part of life. When a child starts school it is change and when a child marries it is  change. Bear with each other regarding the changes. Join in the festivities.

Reflections for Daughters-in-Law
Lend a helping hand when possible, and remember to value the person who donates his or her time and effort for you. Make an effort to visit with your mother-in-law at other times during the year. This is especially important if you do not get to spend the holi-days with her.

Remember to cherish your mother-in-law‟s traditions. They were developed over numerous years and possess profuse memories. Be fair in dividing your time and your husband‟s with your respective families. Your mother-in-law deserves equal attention. Invite your mother-in-law for a holiday as you would your own mother. She is your husband‟s mother.

Do not equate your mother-in-law‟s or daughter-in-law's gifts to how she cherishes you.
Do not anticipate quantity from your holidays or from your gifts. Search for quality.
Accept your mother-in-law‟s invitations to holiday meals whenever you are able.
Your family‟s traditions and your husband‟s family traditions will differ. Accept and enjoy these differences. Have faith that love is shared and celebrated every day, not just on a holiday.

"Having somewhere to go is HOPE, Having someone to love is FAMILY, having both is a BLESSING."    Anonymous

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" Bob Hope

"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it''s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

“Don’t spoil Christmas Day by anticipating how it will be. Let is unfold as it does, and be grateful for whatever comes.”     Toni Sorenson

“The spirit of Christmas is found when we lift the load of others.”     Toni Sorenson

Discouragement“Never say that you can't do something, or that something seems impossible, or that something can't be done, no matter how discouraging or harrowing it may be; human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds. We are each the masters of our own reality; when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible."     Mike Norton

“Never let someone who draws a line and say you can't cross it intimidate you. Don't be discouraged when someone says you can't do it. You might have been the only one sent to do it.”     Israelmore Ayivor

"Belief is truth held in the mind; Faith is a fire in the heart."    Unknown

"The christian life is not a constant high. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes and say oh God forgive me or help me."    Billy Graham

It is getting closer to that time of year when everyone begins thinking about what is wrong in their lives. It is the holiday season, the time of year we quantify our happiness by how our gains measure up against another s. The spouse is in jeopardy and the kids though we love them, can be disappointing. We wonder if we created the mess or if the chaos simply arrives around the holidays. We spruce ourselves up and have faith we'll get through it without too many obstacles. How sad to have to 'get through' some enjoyable times.

All I can say is if you begin the holiday season convinced it is  going to be hurtful and depressing, then most likely it will be. The thing is we search for what we believe is there. So if you have faith it will be a disaster then you will eventually find it in people's attitudes with you or with the many issues that evolve from being together with family.

In order to have a good time one must go into it with the approach that I will have a great time regardless of any pessimistic people. You have to embrace the good that you see and attempt to understand the bad. If you come to terms with the injuries others have cause you, you become aware of why it happens. This provides the option of laying it to rest. You see it isn't always about us although we most definitely believe it is. The alternative is to find blame in us.

People's thoughts and feelings influence their every mood. The trouble is sometimes we already have our reasons and mindset before we even come up against any oppositions. If we are attending aunt Deirdra's dinner and start thinking about what a horrible cook she is and how loudly she talks and how many comments she makes to everyone, then we already have a negative outlook for the occasion. We plan to have a bad day.

As much as we deny it we might be sabotaging our own good time. Recall something about the dinner you like even if it is the bread, rolls or desert. contemplate the guest list and plan on sitting beside some people you like. Switch the game plan and instead of remaining quiet and frowning and pouting, offer a compliment about the meal, table setting or decorations. Maybe aunt Deirdre puts effort into creating an atmosphere of welcome and nobody takes notice. Perhaps she will be pleased with the compliment and settle down to a more pleasant tone of voice.

So many times we blame others for our own foul mood yet  never comprehend our degree of fault. After any gathering we go home and review the entire evening and make constant judgements. We can recall spoken words, gestures slights insults and other negative issues that occurred. Including myself, I don't  understand why we don't remember the kindness and gentle retorts and laughter from that day. It just has to do with our focus and where we are placing our concentration. Picking apart the day for the rotten pieces is pessimistic. Why not cherish the good laugh.

Anybody who is already assuming a certain outcome will likely receive that end. We have created our own reality. If we want to get along with others we have to search for those things in them that we like and or admire. That will create a happier environment. How simple it is yet not very often acted upon. I suppose when we asses the issue others can't measure up to us, our friends or family. We must find fault. Reflecting on it long enough would make one laugh at the silliness of it. Jealousy, competition and calculations rear their ugly heads again. Trouble is we are the losers before we play the game.

If we poison our thoughts, expect the worst, and shut our senses down then no light of pleasure and good will is able to enter. Later, upon contemplation, we really must blame ourselves. Baiting our opponent and causing disagreements is our offense. We can't lose our way as we travel through a myriad of roads and challenges. We can't spend so much time observing others and their gains. The happy person is the one who depends the least on what he has. Even when we love we must not hold tightly and hang on. We should be thankful for the love received and be aware that it is a treasure bestowed but not acquired to be kept restricted.

If love is kept a prisoner in a box  then it will become infected and die. If it is allowed to freely travel it will encompass many others and will grow to unlimited heights. Fear is the crippling culprit. We all fear releasing what we love, worrying it won't come back and we will lose it. Hence we can understand why mothers-in-law fear daughters-in-law and why daughters-in-law have so much anxiety over mothers-in-law, why siblings fight with siblings, and why friends separate their friends because they  worry about the loss to another worthier person so they believe.

If we are anxious about attending a family even or hosting one, we must consider the fact that others might be fearing the event as much as we are. If we let go of the preconceived notions we have which most likely have a bit of truth and a bit of embellishment we just might release a lot of unnecessary troubles. I would hate to face some judgement calls on myself. So unless you are without any blame transform your irrational attitudes and remember what is really important and meaningful about your life.

If you  enjoy drama then you will create it with negative emotions entering the happy environment. Perhaps you will win and manifest the worst holiday gathering ever. Is that your mission, to make others unhappy and destroy everyone's good time? If you want instead to just have a happy moment of peace and serenity transformation is in order. Set your thoughts on the amount of people in your life that you are happy about. There is no need to rate them into classes. They all serve a purpose and we find as we travel through life many times our appraisal of them  changes. It makes no difference,  because it is all about love and love has no measurement and no conditions it simply loves. We can love more than one person and we wont' deplete the love but increase it.

Perhaps we need to believe in our own worth. We are lovable. We have meaning as does our lives. We probably are the maker of our own troubles or triumphs. So I suppose it is time we made a solid effort to promise ourselves we will have happy holiday times. Let go of grudges and you release mounds of stress. Hang on to it and you are bound so tightly nothing will penetrate. Love without chaining it and you will find so much more of love out there than you ever thought was possible.

"Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement."    Joyce Meyer

"I think a big test we all face in life on a regular basis is that discouragement test. Life's not always fair, but I believe if you keep doing the right thing, God will get you to where you are."   Joel Osteen

"Not only is our love for our children sometimes tinged with annoyance, discouragement, and disappointment, the same is true for the love our children feel for us."    Bruno Bettelheim

"Nobody else can make us discouraged; it is a choice that we alone make when facing disappointments."  Dr. Charles Stanley

"(Discouragement) Can be temporary–or it can destroy our life. The choice is ours. If we refuse to deal with discouragement head-on, we are opening the door for it to completely dominate our life."      Dr. Charles Stanley

Value"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."    Martin Luther King.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”    Plato

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”    George Bernard Shaw

From Book "Mother-In-Law Daughter-In Law Dilemma"

Consideration should always be granted to another person. A mother-in-law‟s fairness to her daughter-in-law is out of respect for her son, and a daughter-in-law‟s fairness to her mother-in-law is out of respect for her husband. We need to saturate our hearts with appreciation, deliberation, and honor. Treating another person decently or compassionately is demonstrating regard. It is acceptable to give others respect, but it is necessary to first be aware of anothers existence.

There are times when we simply do not see others or their needs and desires. Becoming mindful of other people and their wishes can plant the seeds for nurturing and respect. Many times we are not cognizant of the countless behaviors we exhibit that offend others. We hurt others by our actions or what we say. It requires practice to focus attention on others. Tuning into another‟s circumstance of the mind permits us to empathize with what they might be pondering or feeling. ...continue reading "Value Has A Place"

A mother-in-law might be unaware that her daughter-in-law has been up all night with a crying baby. If a daughter-in-law shares this information with her mother-in-law, the mother-in-law can show consideration for and assist her daughter-in-law. A mother-in-law can simply be a sounding board for her daughter-in-law's com-plaints. A mother-in-law can allow her daughter-in-law to defuse her frustration by simply listening to her concerns.

A daughter-in-law should key into her mother-in-law's complaints. Her mother-in-law may not always feel well. A daughter-in-law might consider all of this before judging her mother-in-law's frame of mind. Sometimes through common sense we demonstrate respect. Helping a daughter-in-law cope with her children is considerate. Helping a moth-er-in-law clear off a table is appreciative. The little things mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do for each other creates the bonds of respect they have for each other. Showing respect is also necessary when discussing our dissimilar opinions. We can reject our mother-in-law‟s concepts for decorating, spending money, or child rearing without rejecting her. We can never be too sure that our way is the better way for doing things just because it is the current thinking.

Mothers-in-law can reject their daughters-in-law's concepts for working, spending money, dressing, or taking care of the children without rejecting their daughters-in-law. Give your daughter-in-law credit for venturing into the unknown and attempting to apply a new concept. You may feel it necessary to wear lace to a wedding; your daughter-in-law may wear pants or a skirt. You cannot tell her how to dress.

Research shows there are complaints from daughters-in-law when mothers-in-law visit unexpectedly. Daughters-in-law prefer formal invitations. Some mothers-in-law complain that they never get invited to their daughter-in-law‟s house for dinner. If they do get invited, the meal is thrown together from a box. Other mothers-in-law stated that if they just dropped by unexpectedly, they got a cold shoulder. They did not feel welcome. Some mothers-in-law felt like intruders.

The daughters-in-law complained that they worked a full-time job and had children to contend with. If they invited their mothers-in-law, they did not cook too much because they are not “gourmet cooks.” Some daughters-in-law stated that their mothers-in-law stopped by unexpectedly to spy on them and to catch them and their house in complete disarray. One daughter-in-law stated, “She just wants to check up on my house-cleaning habits and cooking ability.”

The truth for both mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law lies someplace in the middle. If a mother-in-law or a daughter-in-law is trying to find imperfections, then they will easily find them without much effort. There are imperfections in the best of us, but also worthiness in the worst of us. Respect requires the ability to ignore anothers shortcomings. If we display appreciation for another, we might be more considerate in our judgments and opinions. By being aware of someone's struggles, we may connect on a higher level with that person and recognize his or her worth. If we appreciate another‟s challenges, it may conceivably allow us to appreciate them.

The daughter-in-law should not be expected to produce a gourmet meal. Many mothers-in-law agreed that boxed pizza was just fine as long as they got an invitation to come over.  They felt the company was the best. Likewise, the daughters-in-law agreed that an unexpected visit now and again was okay, provided there was a refrain of criticism. Both factions wished for pleasant conversation.

“Nobody as long as he moves about among the currents of life, is without trouble.”
Carl Jung

"While on a walk one day, I was surprised to see a man hoeing his garden while sitting in his chair. What laziness! I thought. But suddenly I saw leaning against his chair, a pair of crutches. The man was at work despite his handicap. The lessons I learned about snap judgments that day have stayed with me for years now.

VIGNETTE

Cassie was an easy woman to talk to. She began her rendition of her mother-in-law, Nancy. Cassie had been married to Sean for over ten years. Cassie had a twinkle in her eyes every time Nancy‟s name was mentioned. Cassie recalled and retold a couple of funny and interesting stories. Her lush plants were obvious, and Cassie recalled one particular account about her plants and her mother-in-law. Cassie began her account with an amusing smile.When Cassie and Sean were first married, they lived a short distance from Nancy. Cassie remembered how busy she was at that time with young children. Cassie loved plants, but she admitted, at times, she forgot to water them. Her mother-in-law was had a green thumb.

When Nancy would stop by for a visit, she would pull out all of the brown, dead leaves and water Cassie‟s plants. Nancy would then instruct Cassie on how to take better care of them. If Nancy came unexpectedly and Cassie had piles of laundry all over the kitchen floor, Nancy just stepped over them and made her way to a chair without blinking an eye or losing a step. Nancy never mentioned the dirty laundry. Cassie laughed. Nancy would invite Cassie to lunch. Nancy always chose the restaurant, but she allowed Cassie to have veto power. Cassie recalled using her veto power only once. Nancy had chosen a fish restaurant, and Cassie hated fish. That particular time they chose a restaurant they both agreed on.

Cassie always had three plants hanging in the den by the window, full of brown leaves and drooping green ones. Cassie mentioned her busy schedule. She drew attention to the three plants and recollected how they were looking about as attractive as they had the day her mother-in-law decided to come for an unexpected visit.  She called Cassie the day before she planned on visiting. Cassie hung up the phone and studied her three sick plants. Cassie was not in the mood for an instruction, so she marched to the garden shop and bought three plants just like her dying ones,  and replaced them.”
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The next day, Cassie hung up the plants, picked up the house, and waited for her mother-in-law to arrive. When Nancy walked into the front room and spotted the fully green plants, she remarked how beautiful they were. Nancy then turned to her daugh-ter-in-law and said, “You must have just bought them." Cassie was shocked. She stared at her mother-in-law, and then they both burst out laughing. For the rest of the visit, if either woman mentioned the plants, they had another laugh.

Cassie spoke with love about Nancy. Cassie said how Nancy always went on vacation with them. Nancy would babysit while Cassie and Sean went out by themselves. The only drawback to having Nancy on vacation was that she had to sit in the front seat of the car with Sean. Nancy would get car sick if she didn't sit up front, although Cassie had never seen Nancy get carsick. Cassie chuckled. Her amusing stories were inspiring. They proved that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law could manage a compatible relationship with honesty, understanding, respect, and a dose of humor.

"Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson

"It is not good for all your wishes to be fulfilled; through sickness; you recognize the value of health, through evil; the value of good; through a hunger; satisfaction; through exertion, the value of rest."    Greek book of wisdom

The crosses people bear are seldom in plain sight."
Annette Ashe

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others life.”    Richard Bach

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."
Albert Einstein

resentment"Family dinners are more often than not an ordeal of nervous indigestion, preceded by hidden resentment and ennui and accompanied by psychosomatic jitters."    M. K. Fisher

"The man who is anybody and who does anything is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood. This is a part of the penalty for greatness, and every great man understands it; and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment."    Elbert Hubbard

I find the thing that brings the most heartache and pain is disappointment. Every day there is so much need to face discouraging situations. At home it is frustrating if we feel the workload is not fairly divided. At this time loading the dishwasher which wasn't suppose to be  our job, gets irritating with every dish. Perhaps the job isn't as hard as our anger at having to do it.

Our husband or wife are expected to be home early for a nice meal. Suddenly comes the phone call stating they will be late. All the plans are dashed and we are crushed. Our minds work overtime and we know, and believe they could have gotten out if they tried harder. I guess the danger is when we deduce they didn't care enough about us to make the endeavor. After a long day we don't want to be greeted by another persons' bad mood. Maybe they have been cranky all week so it is our turn. So we reckon.

At work there are those people who never make the coffee but they make sure they get their share of everybody else's pot. We think they pride themselves  on this accomplishment. We get unnerved when it is our spouse's turn to bathe the kids and all we can hear is angry yelling and demands. We resolve not to go and relieve them because we know that must be their plan. Now we are mad that they are plotting such a scheme. perhaps they are not but we don't question to find out the truth or reason why they feel the way they do. ...continue reading "Turning Disappointment Into Acceptance"

The in-laws are coming again and the husband is not going to cook the meal. How inconsiderate. The last thing we want to do is listen to them deliver and dwell on a boring story idea or thought that really could have taken two minutes to deliver rather than fifteen. The night is ruined and it is their fault. They should be responsible for their own families we surmise. The negativity and resentment builds with each new incident until there is so much resentment that we imagine all kinds of motives our spouse or family member use to manipulate us. We determine not to be taken in.

When imaginations run wild they are similar to a fictional story with us as the author. We are the unfortunate person that everyone is taking advantage of. Other people become the enemy. We have our strongly held beliefs and we don't have time nor do we want to put in the sweat to figure out our enemies point of view. In our eyes they don't have any reasons for acting the way they do. They are at fault and we are just responding in kind.

The marriage and the friendships limp along in this fashion until they dissolve. It might not be what anybody planned but if the relationships are not given any air, they will burn to ashes. What we don't always see is that once we are on the wrong track in any relationship, it cause double the problems. We notice more wrongs, have less patience and put no exertion into understanding them. We have finished with trying. Things become larger and more detrimental.

Perhaps some issues might have been solved if we had pursued some solutions prior to giving up.  Once we make a choice to abandon the relationship, we have pronouncrd it dead already, it is sad when this happens. Probably it didn't have to happen. Being afraid to face the burdens with each other fosters a continuation of resentment that terminates the love. I am a believer in love. I know things can always or most of the time be worked out but prolonging the negativity cuts off the oxygen for a healthy relationship.

Perhaps if we might recognize our own limitations instead of clinging to our independence and capability so as to prove our self-sufficiency, we might salvage our bonds. Weakness is such a fearful thing. We would rather not give in to weakness and dissolve the union instead of admitting our tiredness and vulnerability. Along with these attributes comes the necessity of knowing how to get help using positive rather than negative means.

I have yelled and complained to no avail. If anything each person digs in their heels and shuts down their  listening skills. You just wait for your  chance to blurt out present past and future hurts. One wants to cover all of the bases. I eventually caught on to the fact that the arguments proceeded down the same path with the same ending. After years it occurred to me to switch up the response.

The hard part is coming to terms with my participation of wrong doing. Honestly nobody likes being wrong or admitting sorrow for mistakes. I tend to use the word but a lot. I am sorry but you weren't listening, you started it, you didn't take a turn, you never try. It sometimes led into another fight. I just didn't want to take  all of the blame and my spouse was not interested in taking any of the fault. There I go again placing more on him than on me. In time we were both able to admit it when we were at fault. The strange thing was as soon as I admitted my blame in a situation, the quicker my spouse jumped in admitting something I would not have thought about. It became easier to find the truth and keep our feelings intact.

Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law disagreements are mostly misunderstandings. No one gives in and admits defeat. Sibling rivalry can continue forever without finding motives or forgiveness in each other. Family feuds destroy years of friendship and guidance. Reviewing a bad situation when we are relaxed and in a happy state of mind, allows us to get a sense of the craziness in maintaining a feud. Truly nobody comes out a winner but  everyone comes out a loser when a truce can't be formed.

How important it is to mention the other people  unintentionally trapped in the disagreements we foster. They are the casualties of war and hardly get counted. We underestimate their pain, grief and  frustration. After arriving at this destination many times we sit back and reflect or at least some of us do. That is the point of enlightenment. It arrives the moment we come to accept our blame. It leads to a rougher path for ourselves as we face our own "demons" and become open to acceptance and forgiveness to self. The result is dramatic. Stress and worry are lifted and we become stronger and braver. After all we faced up to powerful accusations which originated in our own minds and hearts.  The reality was lit up in our awareness. The fuzziness  we encountered cleared giving us a clear picture.

It was so extremely hard to do the first few times but it is strange how much easier it got. There is no shame in wrongdoing when you admit to doing it. Honor is not just covered up but lost when we lie to  ourselves. We gain our sense of pride and honor upon admittance of guilt. After being locked up behind the bars of conspiracy, it is a relief to achieve release from the cage that surrounding us. Doing what we don't want to do is painful, yet in the end it is actually a release from the pain. I encourage forgiveness to self and others. The mind must figure out the truth while the heart must work some feeling and sense of forgiveness to help the soul grow spiritually.

How much more time do we desire to give to fruitless anger and fights. How great is it actually to have the last word. If we can visualize the grave possibility of attaining inner and outer peace in the process it appears to be worth the time and effort. Of course unless we want to end up in a similar situation, we must begin to face the truth earlier in the game and not get caught up in another futile place. Changing our ingrained habits of the mind and heart requires commitment.

"Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace."    Buddha

"Emphasis on educational and vocational rehabilitation must not be allowed to overshadow the profound need that will exist for spiritual reorientation. Inevitably there will exist, to a considerable degree, psychological maladjustments manifested in disillusionment, resentment toward civilians, depression, and a sense of guilt. Spiritual therapy available in the resources of the Christian faith can accomplish most in overcoming these problems."    John Bonnell

 

 

coping“There is no effect more disproportionate to its cause than the happiness bestowed by a small compliment.”    Robert Brault

 "every sunrise is an invitation for us to rise and brighten someone's day.  Richelle E. Goodrich

I recently heard from a young friend that her parents were getting a divorce. They had been married over 25 yrs. My friend is married yet so very hurt, and yes traumatized. It might seem crazy but divorce hurts the children, regardless of their age. It brings it back to relationships and understanding.

At times, we just don't understand others motives, words or actions. Many times we jump to conclusions that are not true. As a daughter-in-law, I remember times when I felt the cold shoulder from my mother-in-law, and I would think hard about what I might have done to cause it. Now that I am a mother-in-law, I wonder why my daughters-in-law at times, are so quiet. I sat down one day and laughed because it occurred to me that maybe they had just had a fight with their husband, or somebody else, and their attitudes had nothing to do with me.

We assume everything is about us. but if we reflect enough, we realize that the world is not revolving around any of us. Others are not pondering what we do or say. We should not take brashness to heart. It might be coming from so many places and our mother-in-law,  and daughter-in-law relationship, does not need this pressure. Believing we are on safe ground with our in-laws, allows us the freedom to relax and trust in the relationship. Entertaining thoughts of skepticism, breeds suspicion and doubt. If everything we say and do is never ever done with any malice or revenge, then we are secure in an honest trustworthy situation. Let the awkward moods pass unnoticed. We all have bad days.

It is difficult to comprehend the suffering another endures, when dealing with an illness. The trauma of the death or a divorce of a spouse can rip open our hearts. Watching our kids suffer from lack of food or warmth is overwhelming. Fearing our spouse's anger, and violence due to a job loss, is demolishing. The anxious moments experienced as we endure a loved one's deterioration from an addiction, is defeating. In all of the other less dramatic, but moderately stress producing situations, we step and falter while trying  to move on. How good we all are at hiding our thoughts and fears.

Some of us even analyze our situation and then conclude We have no right to complain about our troubles, because it isn't important enough to count. This is absurd, because anything that brings pain, needs to be brought to the attention of others. As was said before, at times it is the accumulation of burdens, that disrupts our lives. When someone voices their pain and troubles, make an effort to help, simply by listening. It is not time to judge or compare.

We are  not alone, and we can learn empathy, by reflecting on a person's dilemmas. The more empathetic people we have in the world, the less we are moving towards getting our feelings stepped on. There will also be more listening ears and less stress. Sympathy can never be underestimated, but our survival depends on compassion and kindness. I am still of the opinion that physical contact, or even voice contact, is the best because you observe the facial expressions and engage with the voice. The energy  transfers to us and is uplifting.

Dreadful situations attack everyone. Although the suffering differs, the similarities are not. We all need food, clothing, shelter, acceptance, pride, work and love. When any of these are attacked, we become fearful and unsure of our next move. Although we feel we are alone, we have a common bond with the rest of the world. Sometimes I wonder if we have sheltered ourselves from the physical presence of others. We receive so much information regarding numerous other people through technology, yet it allows us a limited time to sincerely respond to anyone who may need us.

In order to understand other people's problems, we must recall our own issues that are similar. As we get better at this, we begin to realize how similar we are. We all  have emotional, physical and spiritual pain. It differs in some respects, but correlates in most ways. As we age, most of us lose parents. No one is ever ready. Coping is hard, and we all have our own unique memories, that often return, and remind us of our loss.

When we have come through a difficult situation, we might venture to offer sympathy to another, who is newly experiencing the painful episode. Offering support is never a waste of our time. Whenever any of us is experiencing a difficult period, it should warrant our attention. We should never ignore a cry help.

 By wrapping our sympathy around our empathy, we dig deeper into a person's soul. It makes us one in understanding each other, without having to experience all the same problems. In a way we begin to sense what another feels, allowing us to empathize with the pain. I believe the more we are able to identify with others, in happiness and pain, the more we realize we are alike.

Carefree teens eventually become responsible adults. Parents become grandparents. The game of life passes and turns swiftly. It is up to us to make the most of it, while it is possible. Nobody is ahead of us or behind. Everyone's road has its obstacles, and it is easier if we work together to remove a few. That makes the  load  lighter. All it takes is for us to recognize each other as an extension of ourselves. By reaching that point, we perhaps would find it impossible to pass another being without giving aid.

"If you avoid all of life's abrasions, you will never be polished enough to shine." Richelle E. Goodrich

“Don't ever give up. Don't ever give in. Don't ever stop trying. Don't ever sell out. And if you find yourself succumbing to one of the above for a brief moment, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, whisper a prayer, and start where you left off. But never, ever, ever give up.” Richelle E. Goodrich

kW0BbXpfPk_1400535921244"Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities."     Bernard Berenson

It is a quote worth digesting. There is more truth to these words than we would like to believe. Whenever one tries to act with humility and thought, it makes others question the motives. It also fosters a conscience, which produces an uncomfortable feeling. It's time to recognize our own uniqueness. If we are in the presence of a kind person, it shouldn't demean us, but instead it should encourage us. Each of us has the capacity to educate another. We can't always be in top form. Those times when we need help, let us lean on another. Likewise when the other person needs help, it is our turn to do the inspiring. We are not in any competition. We don't ever have to  be in a contest. It really is okay to support each other, be happy for another person's achievement, and exhibit empathy for another person's sorrows. As they say, we're all in the soup together.

At times, mothers-in-law (MILs) and daughters-in-law (DILs) need each other. If they remember they have more in common, it will allow them to recognize a similar spirit. Every one of us wakes up with less sleep than we wanted, more aches and pains and burdens, that are almost beyond carrying. All this may warrant little attention from family. It is those moments we need strength. If it is not in us at that time, then the strength of another is required.

If we met a stranger on the street, who poured out their heart to us about their loads, and pressures, we would sympathize and come to the person's aid. Many people offer volunteer work. Nobody counts the ways we can accommodate, those within our comunity. Somehow when it comes to people we know, who are close in proximity, we forget to offer support. By attempting to  overcome our jealousy, or competitiveness, we gain a closer picture of the burdens of others. Look hard and find something good in your MIL or DIL. Focus on that only. Skip dwelling on what you don't like.

The same goes for your marriage. I have never viewed two similar marriages. How or why couples work out their own dynamics, is important to them only. A wife who criticizes her husband for not doing the chores, she perceives other husbands are doing, is in for a downfall. She would have to take into consideration, all of the chores her husband is responsible for, and weigh them against all of the jobs another husband is accountable to do. It isn't easy to compare. Maybe we forgot to count the numerous minutes, a husband spends reading to his children at night.

Husbands can't compare what one wife does, in relation to another person's spouse. One woman may cook, especially if she likes to cook. More wives do take-out dinners, because they hold down jobs. Maybe the wife entertains her in-laws for dinner. How does anyone begin or end in their assessments of culpability and fairness. The solution is, if it works for us and things run smoothly, then go with it.

I think fairness in these matters must be overridden by comprehension. Knowing what our spouse is engaged in matters. If they are caring for a sick child, preparing meals, setting up lunches, and seeing kids off on the school bus, then maybe we should go and pick up the food, and vacuum the house.

I would not attempt to divide up tasks. To gain meaning of the senselessness of doing this, is my goal. By working on the details of some set tasks, we might be able to appreciate all of the responsibilities each spouse performs. I believe most of the time we worry, when we listen to others state their job division.  Why this thinking is so prevalent is amazing.

It kind of follows society's attitude, regarding the problem of being taken advantage of. Surprisingly, we bring it into the marriage, and child care arena. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of. It is sad that our trust in each other is waning. Is it not possible to commiserate with our spouses, in regard to our burdens, when we are concerned with our own load? By attempting to fairly divide the work, it allows  cooperation to reign.. Our alternative is to fight about doing only our share of the work. We have lost empathy for our spouse, when we argue over who is doing more or less work.

There are those times when it is unfairly divided. However, acknowledge the reasons which may be legitimate. Possibly it will be a short -term occurrence. Restrictions  placed on each other, is devoid of love. Nasty retorts and criticisms is lacking understanding. Anger and harsh words results in a barren relationship. That is not what we want to bestow on our spouse, in-laws, friends or kids.

I find it hurtful to quarrel with someone I love over fairness. That is not to say I have never been guilty of unfairness. I am simply trying to be, more aware of my need to chill. At times, I pitch in wherever the need arises. Behaving decently should happen naturally, when their is love between the parties. We can all recognize the plight of someone who is perhaps on overdrive. Likewise the spouse with the lighter load, should recognize the need for gratitude. Just because we are married does not mean it alleviates the necessity of appreciation. We all like to receive thanks as well as compliments. Thankfulness towards in-laws, is also appreciated. There is no contract stating we must be a doormat.

When there is little gratitude dispensed, throughout all areas of our lives, there is little love, empathy, and understanding. I wonder sometimes if that might be the reason for the many divorces, and the breakdowns of the family,  and relationships in general. This of course leads to the corroding of society. When we trust those we love, it is like saying, "I know we share in our love, and therefore care about each other. So, it goes without saying we won't want to deliberately hurt each other." We can have downtime without repercussion, or judgmental words. If we are stressed, we can refrain from transferring the anxiety to a loved one, and instead request some help.

"Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life? The Master said is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." Confucius

contentment"Most of one's life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking."            Aldous Huxley

"It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come."  Dalai Lamaa

"How is it possible to be solidly aware of where you are going, and what you are doing one day, and the next day shake your head in dismay. Just when you reason you have arrived at the answers, you are sent backwards in remorse. It keeps one on their toes, because you never know when the hit is coming, and from where it will come."    Anonymous

I began reflecting on contentment. It leaves us befuddled, because we all just want a little satisfaction, security and trust that the world is okay, and  so are we. As we all are aware, the world is anything but okay, and we live in fear about almost everything in our lives. As soon as a  baby is born, we worry about college, never mind if we can afford the diapers and baby food. Our lives are spent in worry and discontent. It is no wonder most of us suffer, or will suffer with stress related health issues or illness.

All everyone requires is some serenity in their lives. It just cannot be found. I worried and feared and finally concluded, I couldn't live my life fully, in worry and fear. It got old, unhealthy, boring and unpleasant. That is when I began to ruminate over what I was doing. My days were passing, and I  was hardly in them. I was too busy having anxiety attacks about something. If I wasn't concerned with a relationship, it was my job performance, the amount of money I had in the bank, how many kids I wanted versus how many we could afford, and doubt about whether  my kids had enough activities or too many. I questioned if I had to attend all of those showers, weddings and birthday parties. I fretted about painting the house of fixing the yard. My social attention to inviting friends for dinner, was a concern worth mentioning.

I don't want my kids lacking, so I get them involved. Those phone calls must be completed, or my friends will be upset with me. Everyone in my neighborhood has their yard picked up, so I'd better get to it soon. My basement is getting cluttered, because I keep throwing things in it that I don't have a place for yet if ever. I must keep the old paint in case I need to touch up the room. My parents and in-laws expect to see us this weekend. I begin ruminating again on an answer for my problems. The list in my head continues to scribe on and on until I feel a headache coming on. I am ready to pounce at the next human person who speaks.

My life was almost getting to be impossible to live. I thought of a remote  island and what it would be like if I sailed to it and left the world behind. I don't mean I don't care about or love my family and friends and even my life, but I can't seem to keep up with it. I am drowning in my thoughts, never mind my duties. On the island it would be like starting over. Nothing on my plate to think about or do. What a refreshing feeling. Of course I would never make the trade, even if I could. The chaos  made me mull over how well I had complicated my life.

Our lives don't get mixed up because of marriage or kids nor family and friends. Our existence turns upside down when we perpetrate on irrelevant issues. Suddenly a new thought inspires me. I'll think about some changes. As I deliberate I conclude my life is okay. I am happy. I am quiet and peaceful and content. I have so much to be thankful for. I am humbled and ashamed of myself for considering I had a grueling life. It was only my approach.

I don't have to get my house painted this year if my schedule is too busy. I can even consider it in the Fall or very early spring. I am dumping useless items, and sending some worthy items to a thrift store. My kids don't have to have three or four  activities to attend. If they do I can always have them skip one now and again, if we have something planned. I can call my friends and pencil them in for coffee and dessert, or even meet at an inexpensive restaurant. I will get to see them and enjoy their company, without the need to clean my house and prepare a meal.

Weighing what is important in my life, will alleviate the lesser responsibilities. Considering what I want is helpful. I love my spouse, kids, and family. I like my small bit of space, my smaller yard, bird feeders, books, and home prepared meals. The smell of baking bread is awesome and homemade applesauce delicious. I don't have big desires to order food all of the time, nor attend to restaurant meals. I like walks and bike rides. Simply put I enjoy my life. It is okay if others don't consider it glamorous. It suits me so I need to stop attempting to have my life look like the next persons' life. I'm content and that is what counts.

If I don't get to all of the phone calls today, perhaps I will tomorrow. If not tomorrow, eventually it will happen. A true friend will be glad to hear from me whenever I call. I have found serenity in my life. I don't demand of others, and now I don't demand of myself. I work with what I have, and I not only love my life, but I am contented  with my life. So much of what I was considering was unimportant and unnecessary. I see the truth and the simplicity. It is hard to imagine the simplicity of any life when we get so caught up in a million complications.

Once we can focus on the reality of our being, we begin living in the moment. We can't control what happens in our lives. We can make the best choices when they are required. Our lives will unfold beautifully through our active participation, rather than our inactive stress and worry. Even dandelions are a beautiful yellow splash of bright colors on a dreary rainy day.

"Happiness is the art of making  a bouquet of those flowers within reach." Anonymous

"When you are discontent you always want more, more more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, Oh yes, I already have everything that I really need." Dalai Lama

worthy life“Our civilization lacks humane feeling. We are humans who are insufficiently humane! We must realize that and seek to find a new spirit. We have lost the sight of this ideal because we are solely occupied with thoughts of men instead of remembering the thoughts of the spirit. By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world, by practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.”       Albert Schweitzer

Every one of us needs to feel necessary, desired and worthy. Perhaps this is why we get moody, or depressed at times. So many days pass with feelings of worthlessness. Our existence is in question. How are we benefiting the world, family, friends or even one person. On those moody days we may have no answers.

I believe we all have needs, wants and definitely a purpose. Sometimes we are looking in the wrong places and just not seeing it. Purpose has to do with long term objectives, and we observe short term goals. That is why some of us miss our own merit. Not to rehash what was said many times, nor discuss the same issues, but because of our requirement of instant gratification, we can't focus on the future. This in itself makes it difficult to grasp our significance.

The young child who has been taught to love and share, influences every other child he or she comes into contact with. More communication has transpired in those fleeting playground moments, than we may ever realize. Kind words and actions go forward, but we don't usually get to see that. If we were the parent who taught such empathetic skills, then we deserve a pat on the back. the ripple effect is massive.

The teenage boy who has been taught to respect women, and refuses to take advantage of an inebriated friend, but actually helps this person get safely home, is a blessing to society. We may never hear of such an act, because likely the young man will  never talk about it. We have done well. The young woman who gets involved in town causes, and volunteers her time and effort, has been well instructed. Where did her knowledge of helping others come from?

All the goodness and kind acts we observe in our kids, is really a pat on the back to parents who are instructing  in positive ways. As parents we just don't believe we should bask in any of this attention. Yet when kids err, parents are often left holding the bag of wrongdoings. The wonderful things we accomplish with our kids, are making our lives worthwhile, to the point  of a celebration. Again one needs to view the ripple effect of our good deeds.

Any adult person who comes to the aid of another, at any given time, has brought huge meaning to their lives. Sometimes simply taking the time to speak with a neighbor, or sending out a friendly hello regularly, is uplifting. We can't fathom the depth of our kindnesses. I know this is why so many of us don't appreciate ourselves. So many people would not even recognize themselves, if their whole lives and good deeds were written down, and spread across a billboard. They might ask who is that person?

If we could open our eyes to the wonderful things we do every single day,  we would be shocked at how far the ripples of those kind acts extended. The reach can be so much further than we know. I am not saying we need to get slapped on the back for every kindness, but reviewing our day once in awhile, may give us an acceptance of our value. How can we be depressed if we serve such a vital function. All the little things add up.

Husbands and wives fight with each other, yet when they are sick or having a bad time, they support each other. Maybe we just expect this but actually, it is awesome of us to be the one they can lean on. Our kids need our attention when they are young, and we may have faith in our purposeful life. As kids mature, we may feel less certain about our place and worth. The truth is, kids like to have their parents involved, and interested in their well-being, forever. Who doesn't like to feel special and important in someone's eyes.

When our kids can complain to us about something, they receive our time and attention. We may believe they are "shooting the breeze" but possibly they are in need of a trusting person to divulge their heart's content. Having faith in our own meaning in life is paramount. The time someone's faith is low, and they are discouraged in their goals, is a crucial time for them. Our inspirational words and comforting expressions, may be all they need to continue forward. They may not call you up and say, "Well you cheered me up and now I am going back to finish college even if I am older." Yet you have set them on a course that may influence so many other people just because you took the time to listen and respond with a kind heart . You gave them some needed faith in themselves. Look what you accomplished but will likely never know.

Some of us mean so much to others, that without us simply being around them, would hurt their lives. They need us in their corner, even if it is simply moral support. Without us they may not be able to fulfill the goals they set for themselves. We are not searching in the right places for our true worth. On any given day we can accomplish as many laudable objectives as we choose.

I remember the day I waited in a long line for ice cream. The person in front of me was angry and yelled at the waitress for the long wait. The waitress snubbed the man, quickly dumped the ice cream on the cone, and almost spilled it which further annoyed the customer. She slammed her window shut as he banged the counter upon leaving. I was up next and smiled sheepishly at the waitress. She appeared to relax, half smiled back and apologized for my long wait. I explained I wasn't in any big hurry, and received a big smile. She returned with the largest cone, filled with ice cream. I smiled this time, and wished her a very happy day.

I can't say how her day went but I know her mood changed, and that made me happy. I was apprehensive about her disposition when I approached, but upon our congenial interaction, she settled down. It wasn't her fault for the long line. I realize this was minor, but then again was it? Without the release of some tension, might she have gone home and fought with the family? Was she dealing with major issues at home, and could this have put her over the edge enough to choose some harmful decisions? No one knows.

What I do know, is every day we have a choice, to fill our lives with meaning. Any time you help another human being, you have added a purpose for your life, as well as their life. It is those simple times that can make all the difference, of either breaking the camel's  back or lifting some of the burden off of that camel. All one needs is to have faith in themselves and the rest is easy.

I don't believe in keeping track of kind deeds. When we care we don't keep a tally. My philosophy is if I can do something for someone I do it, no strings attached. Whenever I am the recipient of a kind deed, I consider myself fortunate, but I don't ever feel that I must reciprocate. It is easier for us to get along with friends, because we never expect them to do anything. We are pleased when they do something for us. With family we expect so much, and we are disappointed when it doesn't happen. Time to appreciate any small nice service done for us. Time to think about doing something kind even for strangers, without expecting a return. This will please all of us tremendously, and disappoint nobody. The ripples spread as far and as deep as the ocean. Now that is a purposeful life.

"The greatest tragedy in America is not the great waste of natural resources- though this is tragic; the biggest tragedy is the waste of human resources because the average person goes to his grave with his music still in him." Oliver Wendell Holmes

“As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds
it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.” Albert